City plans for speeders

Rick DeClue · Thursday, June 13, 2013
At the June 4 West Liberty City Council meeting, the council instructed Capt. Michael Meier of the West Liberty Police Department to present a list of contractors who could install a temporary speed camera on Prairie Street. The request came after the Iowa Department of Transportation altered a detour around U.S. Hwy. 6 bridge construction set to begin Monday and last approximately through October 1, depending on weather.

The DOT is requesting traffic headed east or west on Hwy. 6 to detour north/south on Bancroft/Baker and Garfield avenues to I-80, which adds 12 miles or 16 minutes, according to Google Maps.

Mayor Chad Thomas said it is likely drivers will try to avoid the extra mileage by taking West Prairie Street to Davis Avenue, which only adds .4 miles or five minutes. The speed limit on Prairie Street is 25 m.p.h. in town and has a history as something of a racing strip, Thomas said.

Because traffic is heaviest during morning and afternoon hours when the police department staff is already busy, the speed camera would provide a deterrent for people who try to speed.

The camera would be installed at no cost to the city. Suppliers get paid a percentage of the civil fines from speeders.

In other actions, the council approved Chicago’s Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co. to provide $1.35 million in bond financing for the proposed improvements to the West Liberty Public Library. The lower of two bids included interest at 3.28 percent for the 20-year bond.

The council accepted a report from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources citing what it called only minor deficiencies in the city’s municipal water operations.

Specifically, a floor drain needs to be installed in the treatment plant that does not connect with the sanitary system, and the city must begin measuring chlorine residuals in the distribution system at required frequencies to consistently maintain acceptable chlorine levels.

The report contained a longer list of recommendations to the city, but cited no significant deficiencies.

Letha Ottaway, director of the West Liberty Chamber of Commerce, sought city support for this year’s “Picnic in the Park,” scheduled for July 14.

The city approved the use of Kimberly Park, shelters and electricity service, plus a free swim day at the city pool.

When Ottaway inquired about bleachers for an extended music program this year, the council said they could help, but asked that the request be put first to the county fair organizers. City Manager Chris Ward said the fair’s risers are much more portable than the city’s.

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